Why changes to the Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 will restore sector confidence

Man fixing a drawing plan

From 1 July 2021, design and building practitioners working on class 2 buildings have an obligation to register under a new Compliance Declaration Scheme. These changes to the Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 have been a hot topic in the design and construction industry for the past couple of weeks.

And with good reason.

In a nutshell – at E Planning, we are excited about how these changes will increase professionalism in the industry – and confidence for developers and owners.

Modern residential buildings

A timeline recap

  • From June 2020, owners of buildings with defects benefit from the statutory duty of care that applies to new buildings.
  • From September 2020, the NSW Building Commissioner is able to stop an occupation certificate from being issued, order developers to rectify defective buildings and issue stop work orders altogether.
  • And from 1 July 2021, there is now compulsory registration for practitioners involved in design and building work – including architects and professional engineers.

In essence, there are now two new registration schemes for class 2 related work: professional engineers, and design and building practitioners, eg architects.

Certain designs need a declaration of compliance with the Building Code of Australia and other relevant standards before any work can start.

The best part? Practitioners must rectify design issues BEFORE construction begins – saving everyone involved time and money and avoiding stress for investors.

2D drawing of a plan

Welcoming the changes with open arms

This new scheme is part of a bigger reform program to restore confidence in the residential construction industry and to ensure that new apartment buildings are safe and trustworthy. This also impacts on the ability of the principal certifier to issue the certificates.

In short, certifiers will now not be sole leaders of quality assurance; architects, structural engineers and other practitioners will now also be involved.

Seen against the backdrop of shortcomings in the implementation of the National Construction Code following concerns around building defects, these regulatory changes are very welcome, according to E Planning founder and town planner, Barry Cotten.

“We welcome these changes with open arms. The act will provide greater certainty for property developers and homeowners. This will provide desirable outcomes for the entire industry, too. The end product of construction will, without a doubt, be something owners and investors will be confident in buying. Everyone involved in a construction project of a class 2 building will now have confidence in knowing that there won’t be any design or constitution issues – right through to completion. This is quite a relief.

In the past, if there were any issues with a building, the building certifier was in general the sole individual who was ‘responsible’. Architects were designing buildings that did not comply with Australian standards. Engineers were not responsible for certification of their work. But everyone in the industry knows this was skewed. Which is why we absolutely welcome the changes to the act – which now distributes equal responsibility.”

Not sure whether you should register? Fair Trading NSW has made it easy to check what you should do: See this page for professional engineers and this page for designers and builders.

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Partner with the experts in town planning

As an industry-leading team of town planners and sustainability consultants, E Planning provides end-to-end consultancy solutions for all scales of urban planning – from large commercial and industrial projects to residential and private developments.

We’re across each aspect of the Design and Building Practitioners Act 2020 and we’re well versed in understanding registration requirements and compliance.

If you’re uncertain about how these changes affect you, or if you need expertise in your upcoming development project, contact us today.

3/55 Pyrmont Bridge Rd
NSW 2009

1 Tudor Street
Newcastle West
NSW 2302

Level 1,
1 Burelli Street
Wollongong 25

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If you have a question about town planning, sustainability, or anything in between, we’re happy to give a clear answer or at least steer you in the right direction. Contact us through the form below or call us anytime.

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